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Head of FSB's Secretive Unit Charged for $850K Bribery

Vitaly Nevar / TASS

The head of a highly secretive branch of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has been charged for $850,000 bribery three weeks after his detention, the RBC news website reported Thursday.

Colonel Kirill Cherkalin headed the FSB economic security department’s financial counterintelligence support unit. The department played key roles in investigations surrounding former economy minister Alexei Ulyukayev, deputy prime minister Mikhail Abyzov and the tycoon brothers Ziyavudin and Magomed Magomedov.

Cherkalin received $850,000 in 2013-2015 “for acts or inactions in favor of the bribe-giver and commercial structures,” a Moscow military judge was quoted by RBC as saying.

Cherkalin was fired in 2013 after the investigative Novaya Gazeta newspaper published a report uncovering his lavish property estimated to cost between 1 million to 3 million euros in an Italian lakeside resort.

Two of Cherkalin’s former colleagues, Dmitry Frolov and Andrei Vasilyev, have also been apprehended on charges of fraud.

Frolov and Vasilyev, according to RBC, are accused of stealing 490 million rubles ($75.5 million) from a businessman locked in a court battle with Moscow’s former deputy mayor in 2011.

The three security officers’ detention followed the arrest of two other FSB agents in an alleged $1 million Bitcoin extortion scheme in April.

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